In recent years, I have made great strides in living within a budget and keeping a firm handle on my love of buying and shopping, but it always seems like something unplanned for comes by and disrupts our plans for saving or the extra things outside the normal day-to-day budgeting. Currently, the "extra" I am longing for is a rug for our living room. We had one that was a very light off-white. In our living room in Connecticut, the traffic pattern was such that it held up quite well and didn't ever get too dirty. Here in our new house, however, it was always walked on and after a year here looked just AWFUL. I was struck with a deep regret about purchasing a so-nearly-white rug 4 years ago and wished I gotten one that was more the color halfway between dirt and our dog's hair. (A brief aside: if you are ever in the position to choose the color of grout for a floor, get grout the color of dirt. You will not be sorry.) I sold the rug on Craigslist before I realized that our ability to purchase a new one was going to be delayed by Abbey's various and sundry illnesses, so we currently have no rug at all in the living room. A fact which I find slightly depressing every time I'm in there.
Actually, I've sold a number of things on Craigslist and eBay lately, and we also have taken a HUGE load of books, DVDs, and CDs to Half Price Books. (A store I missed very much when we lived in Connecticut-- what a happy, happy place...) We are in a mood for purging. It is partly that we have been in the house for a full year now and it is easy to look around and think, "I have not once used/touched/looked for/thought about that item." Do I really want to store and dust and give space in my house to things I don't use in an entire year? No, dear reader, I do not. Rob has grown more supportive of the simple-living, purging aesthetic lately as well, so now I meet less resistance about getting rid of things. In fact, he may currently exceed me in his zeal to clean out. Our desire to purge was also whetted by the recent move of some of our close friends away from Dallas. We helped just a tiny bit (well, really it was just Rob helping as I was standing around with Violet in the Ergo and keeping Grace out of trouble) and all the horror and misery of moving came crashing back into our memory, making us very eager to own less stuff. And finally, I think we are eager to purge because we are feeling more convinced that we will be moving away from Dallas in the not-too-distant future. Letting go of material possessions is much easier when you are faced with the prospect of moving them.
We haven't been entirely successful about culling our possessions and actually gained a very large one recently. The academic year in medicine runs from July to July so a cohort of people (including the afore-mentioned friends) just graduated and finished their programs; one of Rob's colleagues who was finishing and moving across the country asked us to take their houseplant. When he came by with it, I was a bit surprised by its SIZE. It is significantly bigger than Grace is, a good 4 feet tall or so. I don't think Rob's friend realized that we are not really plant people; this is in fact the very first houseplant we have had in our married lives. I am assuming that he saw that we have children, a dog, a garden, etc and thought we must be responsible, nurturing types who could care for a plant. Hopefully he is right; so far, it appears to still be alive.
As we have entered July and the medical academic year has rolled over, Rob has moved from clinical responsibilities (i.e. seeing patients) into the research section of his fellowship. He no longer sees any patients but instead will work in a lab doing experiments with proteins in cells and running gels and whatnot. The specific proteins he will be working with come from cells that come from mice, it turns out. The mice do not require Rob to wear a tie or a pager, which is nice, but he is a little unsure about how much he is going to enjoy this endeavor. He does get to take a bunch of orientations with amusing and/or attention-getting names like "Radiation Safety" and "Mouse Handling". Mouse Handling! All about mice, and how to go about handling them!